What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

Communicating better and more effectively is in the top three of my resolution list, along with exercising more and losing weight.  One of the challenges I find with communicating with clients is a reason to reach out in a way that’s meaningful and with relevant information.

One of the groups that many advisors find challenging are business owners.  Few things are bigger and more important to business owners than planning for their future success, both inside and outside the business. It’s a huge planning process, and owners need help from advisors to plan effectively. Shockingly, business owners are reporting that when they need their advisors most, they’re nowhere to be found.

According to a Ycharts survey, as reported by Caleb Smith and Irene Huhulea of Investopedia, “[T]he majority of advisory services clients are under-engaged when it comes to their relationships with advisors. In fact, 63% of survey respondents said that they were contacted by their advisors ‘infrequently’ or ‘very infrequently,’ including nearly half of clients with $500,000 or more in AUM.” Additionally, “The survey also found that 62% of respondents said more frequent or more personalized contact would give them more confidence in their financial plan and 85% would consider the frequency and style of communication when deciding to retain services.”

So, advisory services clients, including business owners, want more communication from their advisors, would feel better about their planning with more personalized contact, decide whether to retain an advisor’s services based on how well they communicate, and still feel like their advisors aren’t in contact with them enough. What can and should advisors do to address these communication breakdowns?

As an outside advisor, it’s easy to view a business primarily as an asset. To business owners, the business is often so much more. Yes, it’s important to business owners for the business to be worth as much as possible. But there’s more to business ownership than just maximizing value.  Unless advisors understand what, other than money, owners care about, it’s impossible for them to work in their clients’ best interest.

Understanding what drives business owners outside of money is much more challenging than it seems. The advent of analytical technology has made it much easier for advisors to be more indirect with their clients. They can more easily crunch numbers and create projections, sometimes without ever contacting their clients directly. This isn’t to say that this technology is inherently bad: It certainly makes planning processes more efficient. But none of these technologies can replicate the human element of planning for a successful future.

Bluntly speaking, unless advisors know how to appeal to the emotional side of planning, they cannot truly provide the advice business owners seek. The planning process is far too emotional to rely solely on cold logic, algorithms, and projections. This isn’t something that advisors can simply discount. Recall that 85% of advisory services clients consider whether to retain an advisor’s services based on how and how often that advisor communicates with them. Proper communication is what owners want, yet many advisors aren’t delivering it.

We are investing in being a leader in helping you communicate with your business owners about planning for their successful futures.

So what are some of the takeaways?

  • Advisory services clients, including business owners, feel that their advisors don’t contact them frequently enough, and will make decisions regarding whether to retain their services based on the frequency and quality of their communication.
  • Advisors to business owners must know how to communicate with their clients and prospects in ways that reveal what matters to them. Once they find out what matters most, they must do everything they can to address those matters.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you open up some conversations with your business owner clients, contact me and let’s talk!

Peter Skelton
KAFL Insurance Resources
585-955-6224 Direct
585-271-5050 Fax

The information contained in this article is general in nature and is not legal, tax or financial advice. For information regarding your particular situation, contact an attorney or a tax or financial advisor. The information in this newsletter is provided with the understanding that it does not render legal, accounting, tax or financial advice. In specific cases, clients should consult their legal, accounting, tax or financial advisor. This article is not intended to give advice or to represent our firm as being qualified to give advice in all areas of professional services. Exit Planning is a discipline that typically requires the collaboration of multiple professional advisors. To the extent that our firm does not have the expertise required on a particular matter, we will always work closely with you to help you gain access to the resources and professional advice that you need.

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Any examples provided are hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only. Examples include fictitious names and do not represent any particular person or entity.

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